Dein ist mein ganzes Herz – Possessive Pronouns

Possessive pronouns are like pianists. They accompany nouns, and they tell to whom or to what the noun belongs.

Mein Haus ist dein Haus, aber nicht unser Haus.
My house is your house but not our house.

Possessive pronouns behave like indefinite articles, changing their ending according to the gender of the noun.

ich            mein Haus n, meine Stimme f (voice)
du             dein Wein m, deine Hand f
er              sein Repertoire n, seine Liebe f
sie (she)    ihr Mund m, ihre Komposition f
es              sein Händchen, seine Wiege f (cradle)
ihr             euer Sohn (son) m, eure Zukunft f (future)
wir            unser Theater n, unsere Violine f
Sie            Ihr Tisch m (table), Ihre Blume f
sie (they)   ihr Geld n, ihre Tochter (daughter) f

The lyrics of “Dein ist mein ganzes Herz,” the trademark song of the operetta “Das Land des Lächelns” are fireworks of possessives. It was composed by Franz Lehár with the words by Fritz Löhner-Beda and Ludwig Herzer, and was first performed in 1923. Two possessive pronouns dominate the first line in which the singer offers his whole (ganzes) heart to his love interest. Then, he offers her his most beautiful song.

Dein ist mein schönstes Lied.

He asks “my only lover”, mein einzig Lieb, to repeat over and over that she loves him. Wherever he goes he feels deine Nähe (your closeness). He wants to drink deinen Atem (your breath), praises dein leuchtendes Haar (your shining hair) and dein strahlender Blick (your radiant glance).

Remember that all inanimate things are either masculine, feminine or neuter. They have their specific possessive pronoun. It is amusing for English speakers to refer to the leg of a table as his leg, or to the peel of a banana as her peel.
Das ist der Tisch. Das ist sein Bein.
This is the table. This is his leg.
Wahrheit hat ihre Schönheit.
Truth has her beauty.
So ist das Land und so sind seine Leute.
Such is the country and such are his people.

From: Ach ich fühl’s – German for Opera Singers in Three Acts: Studying, Speaking, Singing, Lulu Press, 373 pages, ISBN: 978-1-312-46345-5

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Published by

berndhendricks

Bernd Hendricks. Born in Duisburg, Germany. Based in Berlin. Writer, German Language Educator. I was six years old when I went to the opera for the first time. My Grandma took me to Hänsel und Gretel at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein in Duisburg. The first time I met an opera singer personally was during my time as foreign correspondent in New York when at a Christmas party a baritone pelted me with questions about the language of Zauberflöte. He was preparing for his role as Papageno. After my return to Berlin in September 2010, I have been giving German lessons to singers on their audition tours. My workshops in Berlin, Vienna, and London are based on my widely read book Ach, ich fühl’s—German for Opera Singers in Three Acts: Studying, Speaking, Singing. My latest book, Die Frist ist um—Navigate the Language of 10 German Operas, takes you on a journey through the language of the most popular and often performed operas in the German-speaking countries. I am also the author of several non-fiction books and two novels.

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